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Meet Ann Thornton, NYPL's Director for Reference and Research Services


Ann Thornton is Director for Reference and Research Services, a position she has held since 2008.

She is responsible for setting the overall strategy for reference, resource sharing, and information literacy services throughout the Library, ensuring and enhancing the quality and consistency of the research experience for all users.Thornton began working at NYPL in 1996 when she was hired as the Science, Industry and Business Library's first public training coordinator, and she subsequently held the positions of Assistant Director of Electronic Resources and Associate Director, Humanities and Social Sciences Library. Thornton has a BA in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MLIS from Florida State University. A former systems librarian at the University of Houston Libraries,she has published and spoken on issues such as library use instruction, electronic databases, and Internet use in libraries.

What are your favorite books?

Olive Ann Burns, Cold Sassy Tree

Caleb Carr, The Alienist

Barbara Kingsolver, Poisonwood Bible

Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Everything by Mo Willems (Ann says, I have a 2-year-old!)

What are your favorite movies?

Almost Famous, directed by Cameron Crowe

The Insider, directed by Michael Mann

The Paper, directed by Ron Howard

What are your favorite albums/CDs?

Kirk Franklin, Kirk Franklin and The Family

Kings of Convenience, Riot on an Empty Street

Oscar Peterson, The Ultimate Oscar Peterson

James Taylor, Live

What are you currently working on?

Right now I'm helping the Library coordinate its services to job seekers. The Library has resources, services, and staff to help people of all ages and skill levels explore careers, get training, find and apply for jobs, and start businesses. We're developing new services in response to an increasing demand for help, and we're partnering with other organizations to give users above-and-beyond traditional library resources, such as career counseling and business advisory services. I'm also helping the staff at our 89 locations become better equipped to serve the special needs of job seekers.

Why do you love The New York Public Library?

I love the Library because of the relationships it helps build. Since joining the Library 13 years ago (on April Fool's Day 1996), I have met many interesting people from all over the world: users, staff, and colleagues at other institutions. My NYPL colleagues are incredibly smart, talented, and passionate about serving the public, and I learn from them everyday. I feel incredibly blessed to be working with smart people for a great cause. It's the perfect combination for a fulfilling career.